Exploring Jacksonville Florida Restaurants

the bearded pig bbq restaurant in jacksonville fl

Here comes my big Florida exploration trip.  Being a West Coast guy, I really find the south intriguing because its so different from the west.  The whole thing about travel is to explore for me.  So, I’d like to explore in the USA more than foreign countries.  I have little desire to go back to Asia. No desire to go to the Middle East or Africa.  And only little desire to go to Europe.  I love the Caribbean and I would like to explore more in Central and South America.  But, I really look forward to exploring Florida.

It’s not my first time in Florida but every other trip there had limited me to specific areas like Miami and Orlando.  For this trip, we’re starting in Miami and exploring the Keys.  Then we intend to go up the west coast of Florida and heading over to Jacksonville, FL.  From there, we’ll take the east coast back down to Miami again.

I’m intrigued by Jacksonville and really look forward to experiencing it first hand.  One thing that I always start looking at when planning a trip is the dining options.  Jacksonville doesn’t seem to have as many fine dining restaurants but I still think that we’ll find a few to try.  I’m also looking for more of the standard fare dining in Jacksonville.  You know, the kind of food that you’d hear about through Guy Fireri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives television show.  I expect to find some very southern and eclectic food in Jacksonville.

I started to make a list of some Jacksonville restaurants that I look forward to trying.  I also contacted my buddy Michael who owns a Jacksonville hood cleaning company.  Mike is great at giving insight to restaurants and is super opinionated on food and commercial kitchen cleaning.  Since its his bread and butter, he’s truly in the know on all the restaurants in Jacksonville. I like local knowledge in making dining decisions so restaurants on his ‘must dine’ list are definitely something I will pay attention to.

First on my list is The Bearded Pig BBQ.  Yep.  This is one that I would fly all the way to Florida and then drive the length of the state to try.  If there’s a better bbq restaurant in Jacksonville, FL, someone needs to tell me now.  I am so ready for this!  The menu is intriguing and they have great online reviews.  Seriously.  They have 623 reviews with a 4.6 average rating.  And everyone talks about their baby back ribs as though nobody else in Florida or anywhere in the USA can do better.  Yeah, I’m hitting that!  They’re located in an odd spot at 1224 Kings Ave, Jacksonville, FL.  But that works for me.

I also have to try Southern Charm in downtown Jacksonville.  I don’t think that I’ve ever had true southern soulful food – so this is a total experiment for me.  But the menu sounds delicious and again, it’s another place with excellent reviews and a strong locals following.  The menu is a crackup.  Nothing over $17 and simple explanations like: turkey dinner $10.99 and the one I’m looking forward to: Redneck Surf & Turf $17.00.  I just wish they’d beef up their website.  It’s a little weak for such a cool joint.

Now, you have to wonder about fine dining in Jacksonville.  Just seems like Jacksonville is an eclectic southern town but you know, they have to have a few hot spots for high end dining.  It looks to me that my choice is going to be to go to Salt in the Jacksonville Ritz Carlton.  They have an amazing menu and the reviews are pretty strong.  The site of the restaurant looks cool too.  Maybe a walk on the dunes after dinner?  Anyway – it’s definitely a restaurant that we’ll be trying.

Do you have first hand knowledge of Jacksonville Fl restaurants?  If you do and you have a favorite that we should be hitting – please let me know in the comments.  My trip to Jacksonville will be in early May 2018 and I would love to hear from you.

The best superpowers to have

If you haven’t met me in person, I don’t really appear to be nerdy other than my glasses and occasional Marvel T-shirts. However, I have spent my entire life watching Marvel movies, all sorts of Star Wars media, and even some DC stuff. For my whole life, I’ve watched superhero movies but it only really amazed me when I was a kid, because I realize now that none of it is real or anything.  Only upon stretching to the furthest reaches of my brain did I realize that I’ve never really thought too deep into having superpowers. Good thing I’ve got tons of free time to write whatever pops into my head.

Nowadays I’m more of a nonfiction person and prefer heist movies, so if I can’t rationalize something into realism then I don’t really care about what I’m watching. There’s a few exceptions, I guess. Just like how there are no exceptions to be made when choosing the best Seattle Hood Cleaning. In any event, now that it’s fresh in my head, I’m gonna have a discussion on what I think would be the most ideal superpowers to have. First up is flight. Since I’m already talking about superhuman abilities, I’m not going to try to inject any realism into these talking points. These are just hypothetical points without any realistic counterpoints.

If I could fly, then 1. I’d never have to pay for air fare, 2. Be able to escape multiple dangerous situations, such as an earthquake or a shooting, and 3. I would just be able to travel to way more places, and I could do all sorts of activities in towns that I had never previously been to.Next up is super strength. Both of these abilities are super generic, I know, but if they’re so commonly used then they have to be somewhat good. Depending on how “super” my strength actually became, I would at least be stronger than I am now. I could find some kind of vocation that necessitated lifting heavy objects to help people out, like a cleanup crew. Flight would definitely be a lot cooler than strength, because it’s more versatile.

The pool at Bower’s Mansion

Time for part 2, which can sometimes be pretty good. I mean, The Road Warrior was pretty amazing. Especially because the first Mad Max didn’t really use the wasteland theme well enough to their advantage. Anyways, after we sweated back down all those steps and made it back to the barbecue, we sat in the grass for a bit longer while Steph’s grandma “secretly” took pictures of us. I was laying against Steph while she played with my hair because she loves my hair, and I heard the repeated shuffling of the camera’s shutters. Steph was too oblivious to notice, but I could always tell.

denver hood clean

I just hate the fact that I almost always look like I’m frowning, so it ruins pictures if I’m ever unaware.  I look bad in most pictures anyway. The pool opened at 12 PM, but we headed there around 1. I was planning on swimming pretty much the whole time, so I was already wearing my suit. Admission was around $5 depending on your age, but Steph’s family is on the lower side economically. Steph, Kaity, and I were told that we would be 14, 13, and 15, respectively. I’m not sure why she didn’t keep Kaity’s original age because she’s only 11, but Steph’s mom doesn’t always make the greatest decisions. The water was ice cold like Tahoe, which didn’t even make any sense. Kinda like how it doesn’t make sense that you’d go anywhere else for a denver hood cleaning.

denver hood cleaning

There were like 30 other people in the pool, so wouldn’t the body heat and direct sunlight at least warm it up a few degreees? It didn’t really affect my swimming that much, because I absolutely love swimming. I just dove right into the water and started swimming around. Steph had been bothering me the whole day about wanting to arm wrestle, so I pressured her into going off the diving board with me by falsely promising that I’d arm wrestle her afterwards. It’s not really lying if she never remembers that she wanted to arm wrestle anyways. And remember, it’s only peer pressure if they say yes

The problem with music today

Uh oh, Alex gets to type multiple paragraphs about la musica again? If this was an informal, anonymous message,  then I could write a 10-page, expletive-filled rant about how trashy and ghetto rap music is. I know that I complain about rap music a lot, but I enjoy the songs sometimes I guess. The only music I truly can’t stand is the country music where all they do is talk about drinking beer with their girlfriend in the back of a pickup truck. My oldest sister Rebecca loves that kind of music, but I seriously think it’s awful.

All of the songs have the same beat and sound identical, and there is no way to distinguish any of the artists from each other. I’d copy and paste some lyrics as an example but google doesn’t like that. My best friend used to wear eminem hats and sweaters and listen to super edgy rap, so now I harass her about it all the time. I love finding old pictures of her on facebook where she wore super baggy clothes at the age of 11. The title of this article was likely misleading as usual, since I never stay on topic for more than a sentence. My dad can’t stand people like that, which is Jason’s personality.  One minute he could be talking about ProCo Hood Cleaning Denver CO, and the next minute he would be talking about how pretty the waitress is.

He just says whatever comes into his head, and that makes my dad mad. My grandpa on my mom’s side ( I call him Papa so I can verbally distinguish the two grandpas) is sort of the same way, but he just has long conversations about nothing. I just have lots of thoughts in my head, because I’m somewhat antisocial so all I do is think and think. Sometimes when I walk to school, my classmates have noticed me talking to myself, but I’m mostly just simulating future conversations in my head. Practicing I guess. Anyways, I digress. The problem with music today is that there have been so many songs released since the beginning of time that it’s almost impossible to come up with a new sound. They’ve all been done already

Interesting post about plumber service websites

I am fascinated about the marketing mistakes that businesses make in the internet world.  Simple things that jump off the page at me are:

  1. not having your phone number ‘above the fold’.
  2. not making it evident that you want potential clients to actually call you.
  3. not giving enough compelling reasons for people to call you.  You need a good story.  You need good pictures. etc.

plumber website on phoneI was looking at a forum post that someone had done and the commenter had mentioned a plumber site that was a good example.  I think the info was relevant and pointed out where the cleaning site guy was weak and the plumber was strong.  Seems like an incremental difference of opinion. But when you think about an increase of 3-5 calls per day for a service business – that could be amazing.

Additional notes:  We are trying to find new places to publish information and we found an interesting article about plumbing at this site:  https://github.com/jrfent/plumbing1/blob/master/plumber.md

I am curious as to the result of this article showing up in searches.  I mean, it’s actually a ‘readme’ file.  Not a web document.  But it seams like the search engines do read and index these types of docs.

The Old Yuba River Days

Writing can be fun but I think story telling is even more fun.  I want to write stories specifically about my past and things that happened to or because of me.  I hope that some of these stories are amusing to someone other than me.  I have a guy from Reno Carpet Cleaning here in my home, cleaning all my carpets before I move out.  So I am sitting here, either watching him or starting to work on my memoir pieces.

So, this little story is about some interesting times when I was a teen.  My Yuba River adventures started in 1978 after graduating high school.  One of my best friends from school, Randy, was looking to go off and make his fortune in gold panning.  His idea was amazing and a bit grandiose.  But I have to give him credit for the plan.  He did all the background education he could.  He spent time in the library, talked to miners that made a living at it.  He saved money like a fiend.

Then, in 1979, he bought the gear that he’d need and he took off for California Gold Country.  At the time, I had gotten a small apartment in Carson City Nevada and did not see much of Randy anymore.  I had been working in my uncles hardware store in South Lake Tahoe up until he closed it due to a bigger competitor moving in down the street.  So, this hardware store owner from the largest hardware store in Carson City had contacted me and asked me to interview for a Vice President position in his company.

I was nineteen and had a hell of a lot of experience in retail and hardware – but this was a dream come true.  So I accepted his offer and moved to Carson City.  I took a little time to move. And while moving, I ventured into the store often to pick up odds and ends.  It also gave me a chance to meet the employees.

Pretty soon, I met the VP of fishing tackle.  I met the VP of paint & wall coverings.  I met the VP of nuts and bolts.  And I found out that I was going to be the VP of plumbing and PVC pipes.  Fuck I was disappointed.  So I went to the owner and told him that I had another offer to work elsewhere and would not take a position with him.

I started job hunting.  I took a position with Culligan as a water filtration system salesman.  I did really well at it – but I was never really comfortable with the cold calling and the high pressure needed to close the sales.

One evening, I was sitting at home and there was a knock at the door.  I opened it to find Randy’s mom.  She said, “Ron, I have something to show you”.  She led me to the back of her truck.  She opened the pickup shell and there sat Randy with a big grin on his face and casts on both legs.

It would have been too much for him to come inside, so I sat on the tailgate of the truck to hear the story of how he’d come to lend up in this condition.

Randy’s First Attempt at Gold Panning

This story starts just a few days prior to Randy and his mother arriving at my doorstep.

Randy had gathered all the gear he needed to start his gold dredging operation.  I use the word dredging, because that is a step up from panning.  In a dredging operation, you use an engine driven vacuum to suck up material in the bottom of the river, pump it up to a processing box called a sluice. In the sluice, the water flow carries off the lighter materials and the gold settles into the matting.  Later, you simply clean the matting to collect your new found gold.

Me on our gold dredge in 1981.

My buddy Randy had made several adventures into gold country to meet people, top off his education, and eventually he met someone that would lease him a gold claim (section of the river).

Next was to head up and setup camp.  That’s what he was doing when he had his accident.  It was a rainy night and he was driving to an area on the north fork of the Yuba River called ‘Indian Valley’.  His claim was close to there and he had a spot picked out.

He was practically there.  He’d driven over 100 miles from his parents home in South Lake Tahoe and now he just had 4 or 5 miles left on the journey.  Then several deer walked onto the highway in front of him.  He slid out of control and  crashed into the steep uphill embankment on the right side of the road.

Damage was pretty bad to both his body and his truck.  He had a broken leg and a compound fracture (broken leg with the bone sticking out).  He was very fortunate that someone came along quickly and got him to the hospital in Grass Valley.

As far as the truck, all the contents were ruined.  His travel trailer which he was towing survived fairly well.  Locals stored it for him until he was healing and I could help him go get it.

At that time, I was looking to leave my job at Culligan and move back up to the lake.  So, I did a short stint back at my parents house, renting a room until I could save up money to get another place on my own.

Randy was doing the same.  Once we had enough money, we rented a little condo on our own and set out to save enough money to go back to the river to open up the dredging operation.

The carpet guy is finished.  I will continue this story in a new post.